As human beings it’s in our nature to seek fast and convenient solutions to our problems. Unfortunately, many of the most serious problems we face in the modern world require long-term thinking and planning; things like our personal finances and energy consumption.
The Expediency Factor is our deeply rooted instinct to search for fast, short-term, convenient solutions to a particular problem. Behavior like this almost always leads to irrational action due to the fact that any behavior that fails to take into consideration the long-term effects on one’s own well being is irrational.
- Long-term effects of poor money habits = BAD to our own well being
- Long-term effects of fossil fuel based energy consumption = BAD to our own well being
One of the biggest, if not the biggest areas where people fall victim to the Expediency Factor is with their personal finances. An individual with an inability to make strategic long-term decisions in the area of personal finance will most certainly end up with major financial problems down the road. Poor short-term financial decisions equate to damaging one’s own financial well being down the road. You don’t have to be part of the Cognitive Elite to see this is irrational behavior.
Fossil fuel based energy consumption seriously
tests our long-term thinking capabilities…
Fossil fuel based energy consumption hits us with a double-whammy of long-term decisions. First, it’s a major expense in the area of our personal finances which, as I just mentioned, is an area where we fall prey to the Expediency Factor routinely. Second, finding solutions to the energy crisis requires substantial long-term thinking abilities. Again, not one of our strong points.
Being in the renewable energy field I often see people struggle with decisions about their future. Even after showing someone rationally how something like solar panels on their home will increase their net worth by $100,000 or more they have reluctance to make a final decision. You can see the Expediency Factor at play as they wrestle with their primal fast, short-term, convenient solution seeking instinct.
What should I do?
We must be aware of the Expediency Factor and admit to ourselves that we struggle with long-term decision making, then make the necessary course corrections in our lives to improve on this area of weakness.
People who have worked hard to build (and actually have) a solid financial foundation typically have better long-term thinking skills. If you are one of these people, then investments like solar electric panels and solar hot water heaters will make better sense to you.
Most people want to do the right thing by reducing their use of fossil fuel based energy consumption. However, many people find themselves in a mental bind that makes it difficult to make good, long-term, rational decisions.
So, if you find yourself struggling with long-term decisions around your family’s personal finances and energy consumption you should find an friend, advisor or someone else who has better long-term thinking skills than you. Then listen and learn from them to improve your own skills and be less influenced by the Expediency Factor.
By: Matt Bartlett
What’s your opinion on this topic? Leave your comments and questions below or “friend” me on Facebook to start a conversation.